Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food – Recommended by Carter

Nine-month-old Carter, reaching for more Baby Organic Baby Food. Photo: Megan Hach

Nine-month-old Carter, reaching for more Baby Organic Baby Food. Photo: Megan Hach

One of the benefits of blogging is that we’re often asked to test products. Since Joe and I don’t fit the right demographic for baby food, I turned to the only member of our family who qualifies: our grandson, Carter. I was delighted when Carter’s mom, Megan, agreed to test Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food on her firstborn child. Megan and her husband, Kyle, won’t give Carter food they haven’t tried themselves, so we were fortunate to get the opinions of their entire family. Here’s what Megan had to say about their experience with Baby Gourmet. ~ Julia Wasson, Publisher


Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food apple crisp scores a smile from Carte and his momr. Photo: Joe Hennager

Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food apple crisp scores a smile from Carter and his mom. Photo: Joe Hennager

We really enjoyed the Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food. Kyle and I tried a little of each kind of the food, and we were happily surprised with the great taste. Each variety had lots of flavor and a nice consistency, with a little more chunkiness than other brands we’ve tried.

Baby Gourmet also has so much more taste than the generic, non-organic foods we usually feed Carter. I also really liked that we could see and taste actual chunks of food. The chunks were very small, so they were baby-safe.

Carter LOVED the baby apple crisp food the best (although he ate all the other flavors just as well). He would smile with each bite of the apple crisp. We could smell and taste the apples and cinnamon in that flavor—it was like real apple crisp!
Baby-Gourmet comes in several flavors, with textures just right for babies and toddlers at different stages. Photo: J Wasson

Baby-Gourmet comes in several flavors, with textures just right for babies and toddlers at different stages. Photo: J Wasson

 

The bright packaging was appealing, and the style of the packaging is very user friendly. I could twist the cap back on and know that none of the food was going to spill out if I packed it to go. The other brands with plastic snap-on lids always leak in my diaper bag.

I am assuming this brand of baby food is compatible with the spoon piece that you can screw on for an “on-the-go” feeding spoon, but we don’t have one of those, so we were never able to try that out.

The thing I liked the most about this product was that it was organic. Although I am not sure exactly how much this brand costs [Editor’s note: Our samples were provided free by the company], we don’t normally buy organic because of the price.

We don’t have a picky eater, and Carter has yet to turn down any food. So, we don’t feel like we have to buy the more expensive baby food just so he will like the taste. But I do wish we could afford to buy everything organic (for both him and ourselves!).

We really enjoyed getting to try out Baby Gourmet ORGANIC Baby Food!

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received complimentary packages of the baby food reviewed in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Our policy is to review only those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product more than we dislike it, we do not review it. We are not influenced by free products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Megan Hach
Guest Writer
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Take the Itch Away with Motherlove Green Salve

Marie, Owen, and Calvin — happy kids on vacation, with no itches! Photo: Julie H.

Last week, I was sitting at my computer alternately scratching my first mosquito bite of the season and trying to page through my emails. No stranger to itching, I had remnants of poison ivy dotting my left knee. My second case of poison ivy so far this summer, darn it all.

Even though symptoms of my annual battle with the toxic vine are lessening each year thanks to a concoction my pharmacist sells, the itching is enough to drive me somewhat mad.

So, when the following email came up on my screen, it immediately caught my attention:

I’m writing on behalf of summer and all things itchy and scratchy. Figuring Iowa is full of mosquitoes after all the 4th of July rain, I’m reaching out to see if you’d be interested in reviewing the Green Salve from Motherlove Herbal Company. It’s saving our skin over in Wisconsin. Thanks!

Julie — the new Blog Review Mother for Motherlove Herbal Company

No way I’d turn down that offer. I immediately wrote back.

Julia to Julie

Oh, itchy and scratchy are very familiar terms. I’d love to review the Green Salve from Motherlove! I’m sitting at my computer scratching my poison ivy (3 weeks now and still itchy). I just had a mosquito bite last weekend, too. Soooooo… Please send it over! …

Julie to Julia

Wow! How did you manage to only get one mosquito bite (don’t come to Madison)? We picked raspberries in the woods and got poison ivy – now I just keep the green salve in my purse. I hope it helps with all your summer “ailments” too….

Julia to Julie

Motherlove Green Salve is the itch remover. Photo: Courtesy Motherlove

I am excited to try the green salve. My poison ivy is nearly gone, but it flares up and itches still.

Have you tried Rhustox? It’s a homeopathic medicine that my M.D. recommended to reduce my susceptibility to poison ivy. I seem to get less severe cases, though I’m still getting it. Supposed to take a few years to be “immune,” if that really ever happens. Worth trying, for sure, though it’s not covered by my insurance.

Would you be interested in taking a photo of one of your kids applying the salve to their bites/poison ivy (or one of their parents applying it)? They’d get to see themselves on our blog. (My kids are all grown up and far away. :[  ) …

Julie to Julia

Well, just in time, we all contracted swimmer’s itch at the lake yesterday. I’m attaching a photo of my daughter Marie holding the salve. We’re down almost to the bottom of the jar. We’re using this in combination with a special soap and anti-histamines. So far, she just looks miserable (but is feeling fine enough to pick a fight with her brother as I type this)….

Julia to Julie

Covered with swimmer's itch, Marie holds up the last of her family's bottle of Green Salve. Photo: Julie H.

You’re in Michigan and you’re on vacation? What are you doing answering my emails? Stop working and go have some fun!

Still, I’d LOVE to get some of those photos! (Terribly selfish, aren’t I?) …

She’s a cutiepie. But she does look itchy and miserable, poor thing…

I’ve never heard of swimmer’s itch before, is it a reaction to an algae or a microbe of some sort? …

I just got a bite this morning. I’m definitely going to have opportunities to try the Green Salve!

Julie to Julia

We were out and about today. Attached are a couple of spontaneous pictures from the side of the road (someone mowed smiley faces in their wildflower field – random, but awesome). They are Marie, Owen (younger), and Calvin (older). Here’s a copy and paste from my facebook post on Marie’s photo yesterday…

Well, let me tell you. I know a lot about swimmer’s itch after today. In New Jersey, it is called Duck Fleas (good to know). Technically, a parasite (I’m assuming ala guano) from a bird finds its way to a snail and then (when the water temperature in fresh water lakes reaches a certain magical level) into the pores of human skin. 1/80th of an inch the life cycle of the parasite involves boring into your skin, creating a tingling sensation. The rash reaches a head, looking a lot like chicken pox. Finding the human body unfavorable for reproduction, the parasite dies. So common, the CDC can’t be bothered with tracking or reporting cases of swimmer’s itch, it goes from family to family. No one knows where swimmer’s itch came from, but it can be traced back to Douglas Lake in Michigan. Now you know.

Critter Bite!

This bug bite itched like crazy, until I applied Motherlove Green Salve. Photo: Joe Hennager

My sample of Motherlove Green Salve arrived the very next day. And it came none too soon. I was itching. I was scratching. I was ravaging my skin. Compared to this monster of a bite, my mosquito bite was no more than a tickle.

So I eagerly opened the package from Motherlove. Though I was in a bit of a hurry to try the highly anticipated Green Salve, I decided to be a wise consumer and read the label first:

Ingredients: extra virgin olive oil*, beeswax*, comfrey*, plantain*, marshmallow root*, calendula*

* Certified Organic Ingredients

Takes the itch out of mosquito bites, soothes rashes, chapped and irritated skin. Helps to minimize scarring. Do not apply to broken skin.

External use only. Certified Cruelty Free.

Please recycle.

Excellent. And the ingredients are certified USDA Organic by Oregon Tilth, a respected name in the organic world.

So, I opened the jar and dared to sniff the salve. It had no discernible scent, which for me was good news; I’m a person who is very sensitive to perfumes, even some natural scents. If it had been heavily scented, I might not have tried it at all.

Itch-free kids are happy kids! Photo: Julie H.

Next, I touched a fingertip to the salve in the container. The compound is exceptionally light to the touch and not at all greasy. My finger picked up only the smallest trace of salve, but it was plenty to spread on my irritated skin. Though the container only holds 1 ounce, I have to believe this salve will last a very long time.

All that’s good, of course, but what about the itching?

I applied the Motherlove Green Salve in the early afternoon, and the itch stopped immediately. When I took a shower the next morning, the itching started up once more. Another quick swipe of Green Salve, and my itch went away again.

The bite is healing, and the itch is gone. So is the itch from my lingering poison ivy. Both itches eventually would have gone away by themselves, but they were active before I used the Green Salve and gone the minute I applied it.

I’m convinced it works. And I’m not going to be far from my jar of Motherlove Green Salve the rest of this summer. Like my new email friend, Julie, I’ll be keeping it in my purse for those inevitable itch emergencies.

You can purchase Motherlove products (they have an awesome assortment for pregnant moms, new moms, babies, and nursing moms) from the Motherlove website. And they’ve been developing their herbal care products for 20 years — so long that some of the babies who first benefited are moms now, too.

And there’s more good news. Motherlove donates “over 10 percent of their after-tax profits to the Nurturing Life Foundation,” which the company started five years ago. According to their website, the foundation’s two-fold mission is:

  • “To promote breastfeeding and support mothers-in-need.
  • “To create opportunities for children nationwide.”

Nurturing Life Foundation donates to organizations around the world that support their mission. You can see a list of some of the Nurturing Life Foundation recipients on their website.

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of the product described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s review policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Blue Planet Green Living will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Love Those Fruits and Veggies – When They’re Safe to Eat

Organic fruits and vegetables don't have pesticides, but they still need washing. Photo: © Tomo Jesenicnik - Fotolia.com

Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.

Or not.

Watch Out for the Dirty Dozen

Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

When I first read EWG‘s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale.

If, like me, you love eating foods from the Dirty Dozen list, there’s a solution: Eat organic. Foods raised using organic methods don’t have pesticide residues to worry about. Yes, there’s the occasional bug. (I’m very selective when choosing kale at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Bugs are hard to see without pulling back each leaf and taking a good, long look.) But I’d rather work around a bug or two that I can see than try to fight against invisible pesticide residues. Wouldn’t you?

You can download the EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, print it, and take it shopping with you. Or, you can insist on organic produce. It’s an easy choice for our family most of the time, though our selection can be somewhat limited at the grocery store. Farmers’ markets and CSAs are more likely to provide more organic options.

If avoiding pesticides in your foods is important to you, too, then ask for organic selections. Consumers won’t get more options if we don’t create a demand for them. Farmers have to make a living, too, and there’s more work and more spoilage when raising organic produce. Our willingness to pay a little more and to purchase organic foods helps support farmers in their efforts to bring us more healthy choices.

Wash Your Fruits and Veggies

When I started writing this post, I had intended to focus on Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash as way to clean produce of “soil, dirt, and wax” (their words). That’s all good. And it’s important to clean produce before you eat it. But then I started wondering if this product could wash away the biggest problem of all: pesticides.

According to the Earth Friendly Products website, their Fruit & Vegetable Spray is “especially ideal for cleaning off oily pesticides, waxes and chemicals that are designed to be water resistant.” Wow. I didn’t expect that.

And, as for cleaning produce — organic or conventionally grown — it seems to do the job as well as similar products I’ve tried. But what I like best about Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash is that it’s made from all natural ingredients — no artificial chemicals that I can’t pronounce, let alone comprehend.

What’s in it? “Purified water, 100% natural amphoteric coconut based surfactant, citric acid.” No sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which some other products contain. (SLS is a skin irritant for many people.)

Using it is simple. Spray it on every exterior surface of the fruit or vegetable. Then wash it off with warm water. Frankly, I expected the directions to include scrubbing or waiting for the spray to take effect. In fact, when I washed grapes just before writing this post, I waited a couple of minutes before washing it off. When I’ve used the Earth Friendly Products spray to clean apples and oranges, I’ve rubbed it on the skin of the fruit, rather than just giving it a quick spritz. (I’m apparently a creature of habit.)

Once the Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash has been washed off, there’s no aftertaste or residue left behind. Does it completely clean the fruits or vegetables? I don’t honestly know, but they look and feel clean. Does it do better than using distilled water, which is preferred by the Extension Office at the University of Maine over other fruit and vegetable sprays? I don’t know that, either;  I haven’t done any scientific tests. But distilled water doesn’t contain any surfactants, and this product does. The plant-derived surfactant in Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash should loosen anything attached to the skin of the produce.

You might be interested in the features of the product, according to the Earth Friendly Products website:

  • pH 3.0-3.5, but gentle on hands and skin
  • Non-polluting/100% biodegradable/non-toxic/natural.
  • Made of replenishable/sustainable ingredients
  • Plant-based surfactants we use do not harm the item being cleaned, your body or the environment
  • Helps remove pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, dirt, wax and bacteria.
  • 100% tasteless
  • Odorless
  • Rinses away completely; leaves no residue or aftertaste
  • No lengthy cleaning process required: sprays on and rinses off; works quickly and easily; no need to scrub or soak; no waiting period
  • Free of alcohol, bleach, DEA or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Easy to recycle: #1 PETE HDPE plastic container

Did you notice the words, “Helps remove pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, dirt, wax and bacteria”? They give me confidence that Earth Friendly Products’ Fruit & Vegetable Wash is much more powerful than distilled water.

And then they list the benefits:

  • Doesn’t irritate skin.
  • Fruit and vegetables grown inorganically can be cleansed of surface pesticides, chemicals and waxes without depositing other harmful chemicals or adversely effecting taste.
  • It really works
  • Safe for you and the environment
  • Non-toxic/non-polluting


One thing I do know is that Earth Friendly Products has a long-standing reputation as an environmental company making eco-friendly products that live up to their advertising. With each Earth Friendly Products item I’ve tried so far, I’ve been pleased with the results and confident in their safety. But check out the company for yourself. I think you’ll like what you learn.

You can purchase Earth Friendly Products Fruit & Vegetable Wash from the company’s website (though I’m having trouble getting it to work on my Mac as I write this). You can also find local retailers by entering your zip code into their store finder. Or, you can purchase the product through Amazon, though Amazon doesn’t seem to offer individual bottles. Current offerings on Amazon range from $18.00 for a 6-pack of 17-oz. bottles to $32 for a 6-pack of 32-oz. bottles to $49.57 for a 12-pack of 22-oz. bottles. As always, please try your local stores first.

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of  the product described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Blue Planet Green Living will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we gratefully use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Crofter’s Superfruit Spread Gives a Tangy Twist to Jam

Crofter's Superfruit Spread comes in four flavors: Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. Photo: Courtesy Crofter's

When Crofter’s sent Blue Planet Green Living free samples of their new jam, I wondered how different could this product really be? Jam is jam, right? But after one bite into a piece of toast topped with the gooey spread, I knew I was in for a treat.

Manufactured in Canada, Crofter’s Organic Superfruit Spreads are a USDA-certified organic product. The four varieties are named by the continents on which the fruits grow: North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. The spreads are produced by combining morello cherries and red grape with superfruits — fruits with exceptional nutrition and antioxidants — unique to a specific continent.

The outcome of this innovative idea? A jam packed with bold, exotic flavors with nutritious benefits for every consumer.

Jam vs. Jelly

I invited a small group of friends to taste-test the spreads. During the tasting, I noticed we were using the words “jam” and “jelly” interchangeably. But these are, in fact, different products. When I googled the differences between the two, all sites relayed the same information: Both products are made with crushed fruit, sugar, and the gelling agent pectin. When the fruit juice is strained, it creates a smooth textured jelly. Jam, on the other hand, is not strained and contains chunks of fruit. The terms jam and preserve may be use interchangeably, however. Preserves indicates a fruit is canned for later use, and because jam contains fruit pieces, the words can be used with the same meaning. With chunks of fruit dispersed in the gooey texture, there is no doubt Crofter’s Superfruit Spread is a jam, not a jelly.

The Taste Test

My two roommates, my boyfriend, and I decided to try the jam on what we most frequently eat jam on: toast. I cut a few pieces of plain, whole-wheat toast and a thicker, honey-crushed wheat toast, into four squares and spread one of the jams on each square. After a few samples, we found the jam’s strong flavors didn’t mix well with the honey bread, and determined the jam was best on the plain, whole-wheat toast.

The fruitspread has a thick, gooey texture.

The fruitspread has a thick, gooey texture. Photo: Megan Lisman

The first jam we tried was Asia. The combination of the raspberries and yumberries immediately got our attention. Raspberries give the spread a sweet flavor commonly found in jam, while the yumberries — a sweet-sour berry found in China — give the jam a distinct sour twist. The unusual ingredient received mixed opinions. My boyfriend thought this flavor stood out from the other three jams and found it was his favorite. Eventually, he even made a peanut butter and jam sandwich with the Asia jam and found the extra flavor gave a whole new taste to a classic sandwich.

On the other hand, my roommates were not so enthused with this flavor. They enjoyed the taste, but were content with just one square. They felt an entire piece of toast with this tangy flavor would be too much for them.

The North American spread added a completely new taste into the mix. This jam has a subtly sweet blueberry taste, accented with a distinctive cranberry zest. Because this jam combines familiar  fruits, I thought this jam would be an overall crowd-pleaser. But to my surprise, it was everyone’s least favorite. We all enjoyed the taste of the jam, but preferred the other, more exotic flavors. Perhaps this is because North America is made of flavors we know so well, and we found the other jams more surprising and fun.

The final jam, South America, is a mixture of maqui, one of most nutritious berries in the world, and passion fruit. The combination of these two exotic flavors creates a bold, yet sweet, flavor that is unique from the rest. We unanimously liked this jam, and we kept coming back for more. As my favorite flavor, I could easily see some of this jam on a piece of toast for the perfect complement to my morning coffee.

Nutritional Benefits

My roommate, Karolina, sampled North American jam. Photo: Megan Lisman

When I compared the nutrition labels of Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, Welch’s Grape Jelly, and the Crofter’s Superfruit Spread, it was obvious Crofter’s doesn’t only rival regular jam with their unique and bold flavors — it also offers a healthier option for a morning treat.

At one tablespoon per serving, Smucker’s Strawberry Jam has 50 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of sugar. This is similar to Welch’s Grape Jelly, except that Welch’s jelly has 15 milligrams of sodium and an additional gram of sugar. Neither the Smucker’s jam nor Welch’s jelly are organic.

All flavors of Crofter’s Superfruit Spread are noticeably lower in those categories. At one tablespoon per serving, Crofter’s Spread has 30 calories, no sodium, 8 grams of carbs, 7 grams of sugar, and an additional 50 percent of the recommended adult daily intake of Vitamin C. In addition, Crofter’s uses all organic superfruit, organic fair trade cane sugar, and natural fruit pectin.

Although the product samples were free, this is an unpaid, unbiased review. If my friends and I had disliked the jams, I would not have reviewed them. Our verdict? With its extra nutritional value, all organic ingredients, and taste-bud twisting flavors, Crofter’s Superfruit Spread is a unique jam that’s definitely worth a try.

Megan Lisman

Intern

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)